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Letter: Physician aid-in-dying ought to be an option

Physician aid-in-dying ought to be an option

I strongly disagree with Dr. Gloria Roetzer’s article in the July 3 Viewpoints section. All individuals are entitled to express their point of view according to their own values. All patients should discuss assisted suicide with their physicians early in their professional relationship, even now, prior to possible legalization of aid-in-dying.

Dr. Robert Milch is an outstanding example of a devoted medical professional. As director of hospice, he observed, with objectivity, countless suffering, incurable patients and their families. When my mother was in her mid-70s, I vividly recall Milch, who was then a practicing surgeon, sitting on her hospital bed, holding her hand and saying, “we can’t always cure but we can always care.” He cared and he cured and my mother lived a good life for over a decade after that moment.

She was the first person I can recall who had a health care proxy. Sadly, it did not achieve its intended purpose. She was taken from a health care facility to a hospital. She remained in a coma for almost a month prior to her death. There was no law permitting physician aid-in-dying. How she would have hoped that there had been such legislation and that her final wish had been fulfilled.

Roberta F. Handel